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ALEXANDER VON  HtOCBOLDT.                  65
for the character of a landscape stands always in a
mysterious  relation  to   the soul  of man.    Such an
impression the great waterfalls  of Atures and May-
purcs also made on him ; he tarried among them five
days, and then  continued the journey to San Fer-
nando do Atabapo, on the Cassiquiare, which unites
the Orhaoceo and the Rio Negro in a peculiar man-
ner.    A new plan had to be made in the little town
of Atabapo, in consequence of the advice of the prior
t)f the mission stationed there.    At his recommenda-
tion it was determined first to sail tip the Atabapo,
and theix to follow the rivers  Temi   and Tuanimi
Humboldt here found himself suddenly in quite a
new country, and on the shores of a river whose name
he had never heard pronounced.    He sailed straight
into deserts where human beings scarcely left a trace
of their existence.    Indians who went out man-hunt-
ixxg lived in these deserts, and annoyed the missions
situated near them.    In this wild tract of America,
Humboldt seemed to  himself to  be transported to
those  times   when  the   earth  was  being  gradually
peopled, and to be witness of the first formation of
human societies.    The men he saw here had no other
worship than that of the Spirit of Nature.
On the 6th May, Humboldt reached the Bio Negro,
little river, famed for its varimis windings, after having
been imprisoned for thirty-six days in the narrow
fragile boat, where the gettiirg up of one of the tra-
vellers from his seat woiild have been the cause of the
overturn of the boat, if he had not given notice of his
intention first to the rowers, that they might prevent
the danger of overturning and drowning by balancing
the other side of the boat. Although he had suffered
much from insect bites, Humboldt had not been,
affected by the unhealthy climate, the dampness and
surge ; therefore, when he had arrived on the isthmu$
between the Orinocco and the Amazon, he looked back
with pleasure on the dangers passed, feeling convinced
that lie had fulfilled his most important purpose,
which was, astronomically to determine the course of